Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

How To Make The World’s Greatest Spaghetti

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, February 9, 2022

LEFT to RIGHT: Spaghetti noodles, tomato-based meat sauce, freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Ever get tired of eating mediocre spaghetti?

Of course you so.

But, how can you make your otherwise boring spaghetti a world-class dish?

It’s easier than you think.

Naturally, there are a few (very few) “secrets,” or tips-n-tricks, that everyone should know, and understand, in order to improve the character and quality of the dish.

So, let’s get started right away!

Here’s what you’ll need to get started…

Ingredients

1 pound dry spaghetti
(If you have fresh, or homemake it, that’s even BETTER!)

1 medium-large onion
(What size is “medium-large”? About the size of your fist, or about 3 inches diameter.)

1 medium sized bell pepper
(You can use any size you want. Seriously. Same for the onion.)

8 ounces mushrooms
(I prefer the cremini, which are immature portobellos, instead of the white “button.”

2 heaping Tablespoons crushed garlic

1 – 28 ounce (large) can of diced tomatoes, by weight

1 – 12 ounce (large) can of tomato paste, by weight

1 – 6 ounce can black olives, by weight

1 pound ground beef

1 pound ground pork

• basil
(Use enough to make you happy, it tends to be sweet — how much it takes to make you happy varies person-to-person. Don’t be stingy.)

• fennel seeds (ditto)
(It adds a uniquely “Italian” character/quality to the dish.)

• oregano (ditto)
(Tends to be inherently astringent/bitter, and earthy, though aromatic.)

• rosemary (ditto)

• cumin (ditto)

• red pepper flakes (ditto)

• garlic powder (ditto)

• freshly ground black pepper (ditto)

• salt (ditto)

• olive oil (good quality)

• balsamic vinegar
(Good quality, it should be syrupy, not watery — use enough to discolor the sauce, by darkening it; it adds a sweetness and depth of flavor)

• Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
(And this is CRITICAL — use FRESH, meaning, get a block of the cheese, and use a microplane grater to shave it. Why not use the canned stuff? Because the packaged stuff has cellulose in it. Yes, that’s the same stuff used as an absorbent in disposable diapers. It’s also commonly called saw dust. This is NOT a joke, NOT exaggeration, nor hyperbole. It’s SCIENCE — and a sad fact of the low and inferior quality of industrialized American food factories. Just read the ingredients label and see for yourself. They call it an “anti-caking” additive. And yet, somehow, it’s A-OK by Federal standards. But NOT in Europe. Go figure.)

How-To

Now, let’s make it!

1.) Cook the ground beef first, drain fat

2.) Dice onion, bell pepper, black olives, mushrooms

3.) Combine diced tomatoes+tomato paste, add some water (not much), add onion, bell pepper, black olives, ground beef and other seasonings

4.) Cook mushrooms with ground pork, then add to sauce

5.) Add balsamic vinegar, and olive oil

6.) Boil the spaghetti noodles… and THIS IS IMPORTANT! SALT THE HELL OUT OF THE WATER! It should be as salty as the ocean. Seriously. And NO OIL!

7.) Cook the spaghetti in furiously boiling water for 10-15 minutes +/-. When done, it should still have some texture, but NOT be mushy. Test it to see if a single noodle thrown against the wall (or some other flat vertical object, like a cabinet door) sticks. Then, eat it, to see if you’re happy with it. Cooking to “al dente” is a subjective term, and varies person-to-person. But, when properly cooked to “al dente,” the proteins (gluten) will have properly developed (cooked), and expressed themselves, and it will stick, and stay in place. Again, this is NOT a joke, NOT exaggeration, nor hyperbole. It’s SCIENCE. And contrary to what some assert, they (the proteins) are NOT just on the outside. They’re dispersed throughout the noodle.

The sauce WILL be THICK, not thin, runny, or watery.

When the spaghetti is ready, DO NOT rinse it. Why not? You WANT the proteins on there so the sauce will stick to it. And that’s also why you do NOT want to oil it. Simply remove it from the water. But, here’s another tip: Reserve the water it cooked in. Why? It contains the proteins from cooking the spaghetti, and can be used (however you want). Of course it’ll be salty as hell. And, if allowed to cool, you’ll see a layer form atop the water. That’s the proteins.

Serve it on a plate, top it with the sauce, and shave the cheese upon it.

How much?

Again, enough to make you hap-hap-happy!

On the onions and garlic, it’s okay to cook them with the beef, but the key is — especially with the garlic — not to cook it too long, otherwise it’ll burn, and mess up the taste of your dish with a bitter quality. So, if you want to cook the onions with the beef (or pork) that’s perfectly fine. They’re not as touchy that way. When mushrooms cook, they release water, which can change the character of the onions, which defeats the purpose of cooking them. So that’s why I say cook the mushrooms with the pork.

The reason this recipe “works,” is because of
the combination and blending of a variety of flavors and ingredients,
their depth and complexity, in conjunction with
the strength or subtlety of each.

A parting thought: Pulverized sardines, or anchovies can also be added to the sauce, to increase its umami flavor and character.

A final note: The herbs marjoram and thyme can also be added to the sauce, as can capers.

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